PH five turns back JapanBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TAIPEI—Smart Gilas-Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was the first to say that it wasn’t pretty, and he was ready to take the blame for it because it was of his own doing.
Trailing big for most of the game against Japan Wednesday night because of what Reyes said were “weird combinations” on the floor, the Filipinos gutted out another fourth quarter to remember to stay undefeated in the 34th Jones Cup.
The Filipinos held Japan to a three-pointer in the final 3:11 to complete a come-from-behind 88-84 victory that kept them tied for the lead with Iran, which earlier pulled off what many thought was improbable at Taipei Physical Education College gym here.
Marcus Douthit took charge offensively with 26 points, and Gabe Norwood was spectacular for the second straight game as the Filipinos rallied from a 13-point deficit at the start of the fourth to rise to 4-0 and stay in step with the defending champion Iranians.
Iran was the first to defeat the United States after getting 29 points from Samad Bahrami in a 97-89 double overtime win which the Americans later blasted.
Team Philippines put itself in a deep hole because of a bum start in the second period as it scored just four points in the first seven minutes to go into the halftime break with an 11-point deficit.
Reyes was quick to admit that he needed to try different combinations on the floor, and the one that started the second period didn’t have Douthit, as the Japanese put the finishing touches to a 47-point first half.
“We talked about it before that we want to play a solid 40 minutes,” Reyes said. “We couldn’t do it. We had a bad second period. But in the end we were able to catch a big run, which was fueled by our defense.”
SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS 88—Douthit 26, Chan 14, Tenorio 13, Norwood 11, De Ocampo 8, David 7, Mercado 6, Baracael 3, Reyes 0, Thoss 0, Fonacier 0, Villanueva 0.
JAPAN 84—Takeuchi 17, Watanabe 16, Sakurai 14, Tanaka 10, Hinkley 6, Hiejima 5, Hashimoto 5, Furukawa 3, Kanamaru 3, Ota 2, Hashimoto 0, Kurihara 0.
Quarters: 26-23, 36-47, 58-71, 88-84